Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

5 1In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named aZacharias, of the 2division of bAbijah; and he had a wife cfrom the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
6 They were both 3righteous in the sight of God, walking 4blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.
7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in dyears.
8 Now it happened that while 5he was performing his priestly service before God in the appointed order of his division,
9 according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot 6to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.
10 And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer 7outside at the hour of the incense offering.
11 And 8an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense.
12 Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and 9fear egripped him.
13 But the angel said to him, "10Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and 11you will fgive him the name John.
14 "You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.
15 "For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will 12drink no * wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit gwhile yet in his mother's womb.
16 "And he will 13turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God.
17 "It is he who will 14go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of 15Elijah, 16TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to 17make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
18 Zacharias said to the angel, "How * will I know this for certain? For 18I am an old man and my wife is advanced in hyears."
19 The angel answered and said to him, "I am 19Gabriel, who i20stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.
20 "And behold, you shall be silent and unable * to speak until the day when these things take place, because * you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time."
21 The people were waiting for Zacharias, and were wondering at his delay in the temple.
22 But when he came out, he was unable * to speak to them; and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he 21kept jmaking signs to them, and remained mute.
23 When the days of his priestly service were ended, he went back home.
25 "This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to 22take away my disgrace among men."

Jesus' Birth Foretold

26 Now in the sixth month the angel 23Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called 24Nazareth,
27 to 25a virgin lengaged to a man whose name was Joseph, 26of the mdescendants of David; and the virgin's name was nMary.
28 And coming in, he said to her, "Greetings, ofavored one! The Lord pis with you."
29 But she 27was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was.
30 The angel said to her, "28Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.
31 "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you 29shall name Him Jesus.
32 "He will be great and will be called the Son of 30the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him 31the throne of His father David;
33 32and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, 33and His kingdom will have no end."
34 Mary said to the angel, "How qcan this be, since I ram a virgin * *?"
35 The angel answered and said to her, "34The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of 35the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason 36the sholy Child shall be called 37the Son of God.
36 "And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and tshe who was called barren is now in her sixth month.
37 "For u38nothing * * will be impossible with God."
38 And Mary said, "Behold, the vbondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 Now wat this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to 39the hill country, to a city of Judah,
40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.
42 And she cried out with a loud voice and said, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
43 "And xhow has it happened to me, that the mother of 41my Lord would come to me?
44 "For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.
45 "And 42blessed is she who ybelieved that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her zby the Lord."

The Magnificat

46 And Mary said: "43My soul {44exalts the Lord,
47 And 45my spirit has rejoiced in 46God my Savior.
48 "For 47He has had regard for the humble state of His |bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me 48blessed.
49 "For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name.
51 "50He has done ~mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.
52 "He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has 51exalted those who were humble.
53 "52HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS; And sent away the rich empty-handed.
54 "He has given help to Israel His servant, €In remembrance of His mercy,
55 53As He spoke to our fathers, 54To Abraham and his descendants forever."
56 And Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her home.

John Is Born

57 Now the time ‚had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she gave birth to a son.
58 Her neighbors and her relatives heard that the Lord had ƒ55displayed His great mercy toward her; and they were rejoicing with her.
59 And it happened that on 56the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to call him Zacharias, „after his father.
60 But his mother answered and said, "No indeed; but 57he shall be called John."
61 And they said to her, "There is no one among your relatives who is called by that name."
62 And they 58made signs to his father, as to what * he wanted him called.
63 And he asked for a tablet and wrote as follows, "59His name is John." And they were all astonished.
64 60And at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak in praise of God.
65 Fear came on all those living around them; and all these matters were being talked about in all 61the hill country of Judea.
66 All who heard them kept them in mind, saying, "What then will this child turn out to be?" For 62the hand of the Lord was certainly with him.

Zacharias's Prophecy

67 And his father Zacharias 63was filled with the Holy Spirit, and 64prophesied, saying:
68 "65Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited us and accomplished 66redemption for His people,
69 And has raised up a 67horn of salvation for us In the house of David 68His servant -
70 69As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets 70from of old -
72 73To show mercy toward our fathers, 74And to remember His holy covenant,
73 75The oath which He swore to Abraham our father,
74 To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear,
75 76In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.
76 "And you, child, will be called the 77prophet of 78the Most High; For you will go on 79BEFORE THE LORD TO 80PREPARE HIS WAYS;
77 To give to His people the knowledge of salvation †By 81the forgiveness of their sins,
78 Because of the tender mercy of our God, With which 82the Sunrise from on high will visit us,
79 83TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH, To guide our feet into the 84way of peace."
80 85And the child continued to grow and to become strong in spirit, and he lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel.